Samsung SSD Speed Comparison

Our systems have moved almost entirely to solid-state drives (SSDs) for primary storage, making our old video looking at hard drive vs SSD boot times rather outdated. But are all of the SSDs we use equal, or are there benefits to one over another for typical computer usage? I tried out four of the Samsung models we carry to see how they compare in boot up, file copy, and application launch times.

To keep things fair, the rest of the system hardware was identical – and all four Windows installations were cloned from a single original source drive so that the OS and applications were all set up exactly the same. Here is the hardware I used:

CPU: Intel Core i9 9900K
RAM: 128GB (4 x 32GB) 2666MHz DDR4
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB
Samsung SSDs (all 1TB): 860 EVO, 860 Pro, 970 EVO Plus, 970 Pro

The three times I measured were from the power-on beep to the Windows desktop, then making a copy of a ~10GB .zip file on the desktop, and finally opening Premiere Pro. Here is a video showing screen capture of the whole process, so you can feel the differences:

In case you don't want to sit through that, here is a chart of the full results (in seconds) which are also shown at the end of the video:

Test \ Samsung SSD Model 860 EVO 860 Pro 970 EVO Plus 970 Pro
Windows 10 Boot Time 29 28 27 28
10GB File Copy 28 29 5 5
Premiere Pro Launch Time 19 19 18 10

The boot-up times were all within a couple seconds of each other, but file copy times strongly favored the M.2 drives (970 series). Surprisingly, three of the drives were very close on application launch time – but the 970 Pro had a noticeable lead there. I'm not certain why that is, but I repeated that test a second time (not shown on the video) to confirm the difference.

So what is the takeaway here? All of these SSDs boot up very quickly, and in fact is it probably the motherboard / BIOS (as well as the CPU speed) that is the limiter for boot times these days. Moving big files around is a lot faster on a higher speed SSD, though, and there can even be some impact on how quickly complex applications start up.